Red bandanna honoring 9-11 hero goes perfectly with UCF's school colors

UCF students show the good side of college football

(ESPN video)

Go ahead, UCF fans, and wear your black and gold to the biggest home game of the year Saturday night against Boston College.

But don't forget to put on some red, white and blue, too.

Mostly red.

A red bandanna.

Just like the one a former Boston College lacrosse player used to wear.

His name was Welles R. Crowther, and you probably don't know who he was, but you should. On this weekend — the 10-year anniversary of those planes flying into those buildings on 9-11 — you really should.

A couple of UCF students — Neal Surrena and Garrett Weiss — had never heard of him either until they saw a segment on ESPN during the weekend telling the story of the many lives he saved on that sad, surreal morning of Sept. 11, 2001. The two students were so inspired, they took to Facebook and Twitter and have apparently persuaded thousands of other UCF students and fans to wear Welles' symbolic red bandanna to Saturday night's game between UCF and Boston College.

That's right, UCF fans will pay tribute to a Boston College grad Saturday night.

And so should Gator fans and Seminole fans and Magic fans and Heat fans. And Republicans and Democrats and blacks and whites and Christians and Muslims.

"This is bigger than football," Surrena says. "We want everybody in that stadium — UCF fans and Boston College fans — to wear red bandannas as a way to honor somebody who made the ultimate sacrifice. When you hear what he did in that final hour and what he stood for, it makes you want to live your life like he did."

Unselfishly. Courageously.


Like the verse from the country song somebody wrote about him a few years ago:

"With one red bandanna and that 8-year-old smile

The many lives he saved when he walked his last mile."

His father, Jefferson, gave him the red bandanna when he was just 8 years old. He told his son to always carry it because it would make him stand out and because he might need it someday. It became Welles' trademark through boyhood, through high school and through college, where he used to wear it under his lacrosse helmet at B.C.

He was a junior firefighter as a teenager and always dreamed of being a real firefighter someday, but after college, he decided to give Wall Street a try instead. And when the second plane hit the second building, he was a 24-year-old equities trader with an office on the 104 floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Chaos ensued. Smoke engulfed the building. Walls and ceilings crumbled. Many who were trapped inside were either seriously injured or paralyzed by panic. That's when, eyewitnesses say, a man appeared "out of nowhere" and took control and said, "Follow me, I have found the stairs."





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Google Plus
  • RSS Feeds
  • Mobile Alerts and Apps